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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Distinguished Professor of Remote Sensing retires after more than 30 years at Southampton

Published: 20 October 2014
Professor Ted Milton

Ted Milton, Professor of Remote Sensing, is retiring from the University after more than 30 years but will continue to contribute his knowledge and expertise within his research field as an Emeritus Professor.

Professor Milton has had a distinguished career since he joined Southampton as a Lecturer in the Geography department 33 years ago. He has received wide acclaim for his achievements in remote sensing, from receiving the Royal Society/Partnership Trust BP Exploration Prize for Innovation in Teaching in Higher Education (in 1994), to being awarded the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society’s gold medal for services to remote sensing through sustained and distinguished contributions to furthering science and applications that use remote sensing (in 2011).

When Ted was appointed at the University of Southampton, he was initially charged with developing research and teaching across the University in the new sub-discipline of remote sensing. By the end of the 1980s the subject was well established in many departments. Colleagues at the time recall that Ted helped the subject through an enormous transition period from basic beginnings to present-day advanced technology.

He went on to establish the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Equipment Pool for Field Spectroscopy at Southampton, a facility that has supported more than 300 research projects. He was also one of the co-founders of the University’s GeoData Institute and during the 1990s was Chair of the NERC Airborne Remote Sensing Steering Committee.

Testing the Milton Multiband Radiometer
PhD research in southern Italy 1977

Ted’s research focuses on areas of field spectroscopy, scene understanding and airborne multispectral remote sensing and early in his career he developed the Milton Multiband Radiometer, a simple low-cost field radiometer that was widely adopted by universities and research institutes across the UK and internationally.

Ted was one of the first geographers to make use of data from airborne multispectral scanners and made some of the first analyses of data from airborne imaging spectrometers. Lately he has been exploring hyperspectral monitoring of Mediterranean ecosystems and lowland ombrotrophic peatland as well as increasing geographical understanding of vicarious calibration sites.

During his time at Southampton Ted has held almost every significant role within the department, from Admissions Tutor to MSc Programme Leader in Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation for Environmental Modelling and Management.

Colleagues at the University held a special event to mark Ted’s retirement and wish him well for the future. Head of Geography and Environment Professor Steve Darby said: “Ted leaves a huge legacy at Southampton, not only through the very many undergraduate and research students he helped educate, but as the person who has been largely responsible for putting remote sensing at Southampton on the map. We wish him every happiness and success in his well-deserved retirement.”


Measuring lichen reflectance on rocks with the MMR
Northern Finland 1984
Measuring shrub reflectance with the MMR
Southern Italy 1978
Undergraduate fieldwork
Undergraduate fieldwork
Research assistant, Jacky Pearson, using the MMR
Measuring soil reflectance 1983
Airborne RS, field spectroscopy, GEM students and NCAVEO
Ted's teaching and research
Image of Professor Milton
Professor Milton
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